The Federal Government (FG), through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has embarked on the disbursement of monthly stipends, using debit cards, to 15,562 poor and vulnerable persons in Osun.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at Boripe Local Government Secretariat, on Tuesday, 187 vulnerable persons were issued Debit Cards for the payment of their monthly stipends.
Mrs Iyabo Ayofe, Osun Coordinator of Household Uplifting Programme-Conditional Cash Transfer (HUP-CCT), explained that the FG has now digitalised the payment system.
Ayofe told the beneficiaries that their stipends (money) would be paid/loaded on the debit cards henceforth, stating that they can always withdraw their money on any Point of Sales (POS) machine or Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at any time.
She said that the debit card has now erased the “cash by hand” mode of payment and that anytime the beneficiaries are notified of payment, they can go to the ATM or use the POS closer to them to collect their money.
“The cards being issued to beneficiaries today are preloaded with N30,000 for the payment of the backlog of 2020 stipends.
“About 4,000 of the beneficiaries, however, would have more than N30,000 loaded on their cards because these categories of beneficiaries have additional health expenses and dependants like pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and those with children from zero to five years.
“This digitalisation mode of payment makes payment easy, eliminates attack on beneficiaries by criminals and makes it easier for beneficiaries to withdraw their money wherever they are, at any point in time,” she said.
She, however, said the distribution of the debit cards to beneficiaries would only cover eight local government areas (as the pilot phase), but would be extended to the remaining 22 local government areas and area offices subsequently.
Ayofe said the Household Uplifting Programme/Conditional Cash Transfer is part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to pull 100 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians out of poverty.
READ ALSO: 7 Things To Know About CBN’S E-Wallet
Also speaking, Mr Lukman Bello, Osun Focal Person on National Social Investment Programme and the Senior Special Adviser to the Osun Governor on Social Investment Programme, said the HUP-CCT, the new digitalised method of payment, is far better than the old “cash by hand” system because it eliminates insecurity. He advised beneficiaries to always keep the PIN of their debit cards secured.
He said the FG was paying the poor and vulnerable people in the state the stipends bi-monthly from January to June 2020 but had to suspend the payment because of the Corona Virus outbreak.
Bello said the FG has, however, re-continued the payment and that what the government is now paying the beneficiaries is the balance payment for July to December 2020.
“What we are owing beneficiaries is actually about 14 months stipends, but what we are paying now is the six months backlog of last year/July to December.
“After the end of the payment exercise, in the next three to four months, the stipend payment shall continue seamlessly,” he said
Mrs Isiah Olaitan and Mrs Muyilatu Oyewole, two of the beneficiaries from Boripe Local Government, praised the FG for the intervention, saying the money had really helped them to sustain themselves and also help their business growth.
They both, coincidentally, said they rear goats and chickens and that the stipends had been of immense help in boosting their little businesses.